We’re now into February which means college hoops is really starting to heat up. In just one month’s time, we’ll be into conference tournaments and the Big Dance will be underway from Indianapolis (hopefully). As we head into the home stretch there are a lot of teams contending to make a run and the picture looks as blurry as ever.
One of those teams hoping to survive and advance deep into March is the Wisconsin Badgers. Let’s start by taking a look at where UW stands after another up and down week.
In the bracketology report that was released last Friday the Badgers, we’re listed as a 3-seed. The following day they played what some might say was their worst game of the season against a struggling Penn State team and lost. The Badgers were able to revive themselves and knock off Penn State the following Tuesday, but I have to say I am surprised the Badgers are still on the 3-seed line this time around.
In this Friday’s release, the Badgers are a 3-seed, this time in region 3. The Badgers are projected to take on the UAB Blazers in the 3/14 matchup. The winner of that would take on the winner of the 6/11 matchup between USC and North Carolina. The top seed in region 3 is Michigan, while Villanova drops down to be the 2-seed.
Overall, I think it’s nice to be listed as a 3-seed but I have to say I disagree with Joe Lunardi’s assessment at this point in time. If you’ve watched this team like we have all year, I think you’d agree. This Badger squad has the potential to be really good but we’ve yet to really see that so far.
When I look at teams seeded below Wisconsin like Texas Tech and Oklahoma I find it hard to make an argument for the Badgers. Still, though, we’ll take at this point in time as the Badgers look to put it all together.
Big Ten Breakdown
The Badgers as a 3-seed has me scratching my head a little bit, but Iowa is also on the 3-seed line after losing three of four so maybe it isn’t all that crazy. It was a strong week for the Big Ten overall as many teams made a charge at the top seed lines. Michigan held as a one seed after another idle week due to COVID-19. Following them, the Illinois Fighting Illini and Ohio State Buckeyes both jumped up to the 2-seed line following wins over Iowa who remains on 3-seed line with Wisconsin.
After that, Purdue comes in as a 6-seed, Rutgers a 7-seed, Minnesota a 9-seed, and Indiana an 11-seed. Maryland is currently part of the last four teams in as a 12-seed.
The upcoming week is a big one for the conference. Wisconsin will take on Illinois Saturday afternoon for a chance to improve their resume. Ohio State and Iowa both have tough road trips to Maryland and Indiana, respectively. The big question mark is when Michigan will be back in action. Their contest with Illinois next week has already been called off, and their Valentine's Day date with the Badgers is also up in the air, according to Maize and Brew.
Storyline to Watch
One storyline to continue to watch is the undefeated teams in college basketball. A few weeks ago there were a total of six teams that remained undefeated, but now we are down to just three. Two are no surprises in Gonzaga and Baylor, but the third? The Drake Bulldogs who come into their weekend battle with Valparaiso sitting 17-0.
When you look at the remaining schedules for each team it’s hard to see which team will fall, if any. Drake is probably the favorite to fall at this point in time. The Bulldogs have three contests with the likes of Northern Iowa and Valparaiso and then is faced with their biggest challenge as they take on Loyola-Chicago in a back to back. The Ramblers are on an eight-game winning streak themselves and should get to that matchup with Drake with two more wins over lowly Evansville.
The race between the other two is hard to gauge. Baylor still has a gauntlet to run with Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma State and West Virginia on their schedule twice. That sounds difficult, but this is Baylor we’re talking about, a team that just dismantled top-five Texas and Auburn in the same week. Gonzaga got tested Thursday evening but still managed to win 76-58. The Bulldogs still have dates with BYU, San Francisco, and Santa Clara who are two, three, four in the WCC standings, but they should be heavy favorites in all of them. Whichever team gets to the dance unscathed will have a pretty impressive resume as they enter March.